Towards Circular Agriculture – Exploring Insect Waste Streams as a Crop and Soil Health Promoter

K.L. Torgerson*, J.V. Meijering, J. Sok, M. Dicke, A.G.J.M. Oude Lansink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insects have tremendous potential for utilising the waste generated from other agricultural sectors to produce high value protein. The by-product of insect production, insect waste streams, can be recycled and repurposed for promoting the health of crops and soil as the chitin, present in the moulted skins, acts as a substrate for beneficial microbes that aid in plant protection. However, because insect waste streams are currently in the research and development phase, little information regarding its potential as a crop and soil health promoter is available. To address this information gap, this research explores experts’ knowledge of the characteristics and application of insect waste streams as a crop and soil health promoter. To conduct this research, a two-step expert elicitation approach was used consisting of semi-structured interviews followed by a Delphi study. Interviews were conducted with six experts. Topics arising from the interviews that produced conflicting expert opinions were tested in the Delphi study. Fourteen experts participated in the Delphi study in an attempt to reach an agreement on these topics. The results of this research indicate that insect waste streams could be produced as a granulate-type compost, seed coating, or impregnated into a biodegradable seedling cup. To use insect waste streams, farmers should apply it next to the roots of each plant during the time of planting. Experts were unable to reach an agreement on some topics (e.g. dosage recommendations and expected yield changes). A brief discussion of insect waste streams’ legal context is also provided. The results of this research contribute the first description of insect waste streams as a crop and soil health promoter. Such results serve as a tool to potentially aid in its uptake thus progressing towards circular agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-368
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Insects as Food and Feed
Volume7
Issue number3
Early online date8 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • delphi study
  • expert elicitation
  • innovation decision process
  • knowledge

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Towards Circular Agriculture – Exploring Insect Waste Streams as a Crop and Soil Health Promoter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this